Faithlife Sermons

1. Love Matters Most

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The 40 Days of Love are now here. We have prayed, planned, prepared, and now are able to participate. For those of you involved with the planning, thank you. For those hosting, leading and attending small groups, we look forward to a greater understanding and a greater practice of the principles of God’s word. For those of you involved with the leadership team, this is a time to redirect your thinking. As you have selflessly given yourself to helping others, now you must open yourself to receive what God has given. As Martha was preparing, Mary was listening. We do not have the same dilemma. We were able to prepare, now that preparation is over. Enjoy the meal!
As we start the 40 Days of Love, I want to let you know what I will be doing on Sunday. This whole focus was first done at Saddleback Church in California where Rick Warren is pastor. After they did this in their church, they produced the videos, the study guides and the book, “The Relationship Principles of Jesus” in order to help other churches teach on this issue of love. We thank them for their work. Included in the information we received were transcripts of Rick Warren’s messages that tied in with the 40 Days. I decided after consulting with the Leadership team for this 40 Days and the Elders, that I would take his outline and preach the Biblical truths found their. In a day when so many are concerned about plagiarism, I want to confess that the outline is plagiarized, some of the illustrations will come from his work and other than this confession, I will not constantly repeat the credit for his work. I was at a conference in Boston where he said that was all right for me to do. The word of God is the word of God. If we share what others have shared, the main question is, “Are we trying to take credit for something that is not our own?”, or, are we seeking to make the word clear. My intent is the second. I want to make sure that what I do on Sunday translates and supports what will take place in the reading and in the small groups.
There are some of you who are frazzled. You have fifteen things going on at once. All fifteen are suffering because of your lack of focus.
We spend much of our time focusing on second level issue and miss out on the primary focus of our lives.
God tells us through Jesus that love should be a priority in our lives.
Matthew 22:36–39 ESV
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
What is wonderful about love is that love allows us to wake up, eat breakfast, go to work or school, be involved in our church or community, go to bed and sleep at night. Love is how we deal with God and people while we are doing life.


What I will say to you is not new, but these 3 laws need to be remembers.


When people attend your funeral, they will not be talking about your last test grade or your promotion. They won’t be talking about how well you did in the stock market last week unless you did real, real well. They will be talking about their relationship with you and your relationship to others. When it comes down to what matters, the best us of life is to love.

Love Validates My Faith

1 John 4:8 ESV
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is a powerful statement. When a person received Jesus, God is not going to let them into heaven because they were a loving person. Rather, a person who professes to know Christ but does not love, shows by their life that their profession of faith is false. If you know God you will love because the cross is all about God’s love for you.
1 John 4:20 ESV
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
In the same way, your attitude towards other Christians reveals and validates your faith. People who say they love God, yet separate themselves from believers call into question the validity of their faith.

Love integrates my life.

Colossians 3:12–14 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
All of these qualities, all of our inner being, all of our spiritual virtues and glued together by love. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with people, forgiving one another, all these qualities are glued together when love is present.
It is possible to be outwardly compassionate and have a hard heart inside. It’s possible to be outwardly kind, but inwardly cruel. If love is not present, we have conflict between our outward behavior and our inward self. Love binds these together.

Love compensates for my sin

1 Peter 4:8 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Peter gives us a reality check. When we gather together to worship the Lord and serve him together, we will rub shoulders with people who have a multitude of sins. We can expect that everyone at church will say and do what is right and good. Our expectations are unrealistic. We are all people in process. How do we keep that process going? We love one another earnestly. Love covers a multitude of sins. If our love quotient is greater than our sin quotient, then God’s work will be visible. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another. If our sin quotient is greater than our love quotient, than the multitude of sins will be what we are known for.
Colossians 2:13–14 ESV
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
The love that we are to give to one another springs out of an acceptance of God’s love for us. How many times have you or I said the wrong thing about God or other people? How many of those sins have we been forgiven for? At the cross God forgave all our sins. He calls us to know his love for us. Love is behind his forgiveness. That same love is the catalyst for our love for others. This love is behind the efforts of Lori and Lisa to go into prison and minister to prisoners they have never met. This love is behind the efforts of our Celebrate recovery team as they try to give the love God gave them to those who don’t deserve God’s love, but need it desperately.
Love compensates for our sin.

Love reverberates forever!

1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
We won’t have business meetings in heaven, but we will have love! We won’t have language barriers between people, but we will have love. We won’t argue about the merits of various politicians in heaven, but if there are any politicians there, we will love them. Love reverberates forever.
1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
We can talk about the sacrifices we have made, the money or time we have donated to the church. We can talk about how many generations of Christians are in our family or of how God has blessed us with wealth and health. No matter what sacrifices we have made, no matter what blessings we have experienced, if we do not have love we gain nothing.


This is not a Biblical truth, but it is true for many of us. We are people who pay others to do what we are unable or unwilling to do. Very few people are interested in digging up their own septic tank.
Many find it easier to give money than to give time. It’s easier to pay missionaries to go around the world than it is for us to prayerfully consider whether or not God wants us to do this. It’s easier to give money to someone who is in need than to take the time to make a call or visit.
Giving money or giving time is good. The main thing is that love needs to be expressed.
1 John 3:18 ESV
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
It’s easy to tell people we are praying for them. It’s harder to pray. It’s easy to tell people we will be there for them in their time of need. It’s harder to be there. It’s easy to say we love God. It’s harder to live a life of love.
Galatians 5:6 ESV
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
What really matters to God is that 1) we believe him and 2) we obey him and 3) we do so in love. The externals do not count as much as the heart.
Ephesians 5:2 ESV
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Love passes the smell test. When we say we are Christians, we come to church, we read our Bibles and pray, these are good. But when we are willing to engage with sinners inside and outside the church, that internal sacrifice is a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. It also smells good to those who receive the love.


Galatians 6:10 ESV
10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Ephesians 5:16 ESV
16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Proverbs 3:27–28 ESV
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV
1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
This past week I noticed a sign at the Post Office advertising the 40 Days of Love at the Palermo Christian Church. I asked myself, “What if I didn’t go to church? What if I had no interest in church? What would I think when I saw that sign?”
There are many answers. It’s a hypothetical question. So lets provide the answer. As they were only guessing as to what they might see when they saw the sign, let them see us.
You know some people in our community that need help. It might be that their biggest need was someone who took the time to reach out to them. You know people who need love. Some of them are on our prayer list that is in your bulletin. Some of them live next door to you. Some of them are at your work or school.
It might be that two or three of you know the same person with the same need. How great would it be if you put your heads together and became the face of God’s love to them!
God would receive glory if people in our community saw love in action. The Holy Spirit may be giving you a name or a face at this very moment. Plan this week to connect with them, to show concern about their needs, and if possible, to give credit to Jesus.
The time for love is now. Let’s make it happen.
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